Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Considerations when choosing a force in HH games: Part 2

Welcome back. In Part 1, we covered the Legion choice, Troops, Heavy and Elite slots on the Force Org Chart. This time out, we will look at Fast Attack, the HQ slot, and some thoughts on Mechanicum Taghmata.

Note: This is an 'in my opinion' article, it's not saying you MUST or SHOULD, it only is saying that you can use what's written here as a reference. In the end, always do what YOU want with your army, because it's your expression.

Note: This is a BIG, WORDY article. Prepare to read and read and read.

Warning: Strong Language throughout. I'd apologise, but in a game of beer and pretzels, if you're old enough to build a Forge World army, read fluff about Slanneshi followers doing what comes naturally to them, then the word fuck shouldn't blip on your radar.

Politically correct warnings. Love it.

Fast Attack:

"I got a fever. The only cure, is more cowbell."

When it comes to selecting Fast Attack, you're as spoilt for choice as you are with your Heavy Support slots. The funny thing about Fast Attack in 30k, is that they can actually hit harder then most units in every other slot! Don't believe me? I have a mate who has a White Scars list with Jetbikes which will cause cancer upon seeing it.

Jetbikes: 2+ armour saves. Toughness 5. Armed with heavy bolters as standard, but able to take 1 in three bikes upgraded with either a Volkite Culverin, Plasma Cannon or Multi-Melta. Fucking badass. A full squad of 9 of these bad-boys with 3 volkites will put out 18 heavy bolter shots, and 12 volkite shots. Just season with a Primus Medicae HQ option on a Jetbike for an extra heavy bolter and Feel No Pain, cook on high in the oven for approx. 30 minutes, garnish with the tears of your enemies. (note: don't actually cook your minis. I accept no liability if you are dumb enough to season and garnish you minis..)

Ironic as this is a 'White Scars' thing, and the dude asking Conan the question looks like a White Scar. Just sayin'.

Legion Seekers: Tool em' up. Moar Dakka. Drop Pods. Marked for Death. Special Issue Ammo. These guys are pretty versatile if you use them right. I recomend it, as they get the Legiones Astartes bonuses, and can help take the edge off having lots of tanks and bikes.

Legion Outrider Squads: The less cheesy-tho-still-somewhat-cheesy option to Jetbikes. You take these when you want to win, but don't want to seem like an asshole when you do it. Pick of the guns is plasmas, and reliable since they are twin-linked, just be prepared to sell a kidney to get a set.

Legion Attack Bikes: Why take these when you have jetbikes? Ever?

Land Speeders: Fast, reliable. Usually dead by turn 2 or 3. Situational, not exceptional, especially as you don't have access to the typhoon missiles. Can squad them tho, so you can fit a lot into that one slot.

Javelin Speeders: Bigger, better, stronger, tougher. Just keep in mind, these are the size of a Rhino and float, not exactly easy to hide, but it can be done, and they go hard.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles: Storm Eagles. This category should begin and end here, but apparently Legions use Lightnings too. Take a pick, cheap flier, good at tank hunting and killing other fliers (lightning) or a armoured ceramite transport with MOAR DAKKA and a machine spirit (Storm Eagle). Both have their merits, it's up to you to pick what suits your list more. IF you already have a bunch of transport options, a Storm Eagle might be a waste. Conversely, if you lack transports and you want that multi-role flier, it might be for you.

Dreadclaws: Drop pods which take up a fast attack slot unless you have certain Rites of War. Can be useful, because they zoom zoom fly around after landing, (Kharbdis was left out of Heavy Slots in the last article, as it basically does this job, so I decided to put it here). If you want to max out on assaulting-from-transports, these units are great, but that turn after arriving, you are a big fat target. I'm neither yay or nay on these units, but a bunch of terminators in a Kharbdis zooming around when there are mortis contemptors with lascannons on the opposite side is a sure fire way of sending half a grand in points crashing to a fiery death. #ThingsToKeepInMind. #HashtagsAreForTools.

Tarantulas: Sentry Guns. Can take a skyfire option. Overall, a bit meh, but can be useful if you're wanting some support in the rear echelon for cheap.


Situational, not exceptional perfectly describes most of the HQ options. These situational chaps, in my opinion, are: Stock Centurion, Chaplain, Champion, Vigilator, Forge Lord, Siege Breaker.

On the other hand, the Praetor, Librarian, Master of Signal and Moriat are badass.

So I am going to basically ignore the situational chaps, because what they do, you can do better if you set your mind to it. Forge Lord? You're only taking this guy if you're an Iron Hand, Iron Warrior or a Salamander. In which case, why aren't you taking a Praetor with a servo arm and a bad attitude instead? Legion Champion? Oh, you mean 15 point cheaper Praetor with less wounds and wargear options? Vigilator? Oh, you mean Sniper Joe? The Alpha Legion have a better version of this called Exodus, I'd take him if I wanted to use this option, otherwise it's a waste. Siege Breaker? If you took him in a squad of Legion Heavy Support troops with Lascannons, then he's the most expensive way to get Tank Hunter ever. Chaplain? Zealot and a Power Maul. So, basically a Centurion, but you pay 15 for the power weapon anyway, so it's a 20 point upgrade that gives Zealot. Pfft, next. Stock Centurion= waste of this slot's potential.

Done and fucking dusted.

Now for the good HQ's.

Praetor: When you want to absolutely, positively win in a challenge without resorting to Special Characters and Primarchs, you take this chap, give him a thunder hammer or Paragon Blade, Iron Halo/terminator armour, Digital Weapons. Jetbike optional, tho it does pretty much mean immune to instant death except when dealing with thankfully rare S10 challengers. For bonus points, you take Salamanders or Imperial Fists, give him a Storm Shield, watch the lols as your enemies futilely swing against you. For bonus-bonus points, Take Kharn or Sevetar, for triple-bonus points, take Sigismund. See meme below for Sigismund's opinion on challenges.

Librarian: Simple, =Force Multiplier.

Moriat: You run Salamanders? I have bad news for you, you're missing out on one badass. Of course, your two-wound storm-shield terminators and tanks with invuls make up for this handsomely, so, whatever really. Two plasma pistols, jump pack or infiltrate him. Everything about his guy is asshole. He basically fires his two pistols, and for every hit, he gets to roll an extra shot. Cue 2nd ed chain fire, after about 30 seconds of firing, he has successfully paved the way for Tau in years to come.

Master of Signal: D3 5" large blasts, can I have them in S8 AP3 'fuck yo' marines' form please? Did you say "I want to take an allied force for an extra Sicarian and need to pick a HQ that doesn't break the bank?" do you see where this is going? 85 points baby.

Primus Medicae: When they wrote this entry, they basically said "apothecaries are an interesting choice for an Elite Slot, but we limited them due to the lack of Terminator Armour, Jump Packs and Bikes." They then remedied this by including the White Scars must-have (possibly any jetbike command squad too for that matter), this guy. What has two thumbs and gives no fucks? This guy. What wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence? This guy.

Another HQ option: the Command Squad. Do, or do not, there is no try. Yoda has it right, when it comes to command squads, you either go balls to the wall, or you don't do it at all. Jetbikes, power weapons of various kinds, Terminator Armour, whatever floats your boat. Also, some of the BEST conversions for the hobby I have ever seen in 20 years of wargaming are in people's Command Squads.

The Last Word on HQ's: Special Characters:

Special Characters in 30k are like their counterparts in 40k. They buff your army usually, tho their Warlord traits often are a bit meh. Notable examples are: Kharn, Sevetar and Sigismund, for the aforementioned character killing, also Eidolon, because he can actually swing his fuckhammer at full initiative and insta-gib most challengers, especially with sonic shriekers. Only down-side is his slip into Slaaneshi worship gives him the Lindsey Lohan treatment. Make of it what you will.

Other notable SC's worth taking are Alvarex Maun (auto-arrival from deep strike, none of your units within 18" of him after he is in play scatter when deep striking, so yeah, terminator spearhead, assault marines, destroyers, jetbikes, Thallax allies (fucking mechanicum deep-striking with precision whatever, fuck you) MASSIVE boon.), Abaddon, because, boons and quite killy, Cassian Dracos (Salamanders Super Dreadnought HQ. Think a Land Raider+Daemon Engine combined together, then inject it with hero steroids. I love him).

Of course, the point of note on all HQ's, regular and special is you have to pick them to amplify your force. If you're just taking them to fight challenges, then you sure as shit want to make sure they are going to get there for one, and two that if they do get there, the challenges are worth fighting. If you're a dakka-World Eaters force, why are you sending Kharn running across the battlefield on his own tooled up with Gorechild? For that matter, why are you dakka-World Eaters? Because... reasons? (meh, do what you want, it's just a game ~Macca)

Lords of War:

Another link back to the past. Here is the article I wrote on LoW. It's old, a few rules have changed, but I will show the article as it is, most of it is still relevant.

Fluff vs Crunch:

This is the most important bit of all. In the past we have spoken about this in other articles, but it's up to you to decide if you want to play super fluffy and just pick what looks nice, fluffy but still have some competitive edge, (Spraggy on this blog), kick ass but fluffy enough, or balls out cheese-monger who goes to Games Workshop and challenges 10 year old kids, before destroying their hobby dreams, aka Keepy from this blog (we ALL saw your mechanicum 1000 point list, you asshole).

At the end of the day, anyone can manufacture fluff to suit their army, but it's sort of a done thing in 30k that fluff is what's in the books, and if you greatly deviate from it, you shouldn't try to make your own up. Just accept you are deviating for whatever reason, you opponant won't try and be a bitch about it unless you start telling them how in your 'alternate universe, Sigismund was a Sorceror' or some shit.

Note: This is an 'in my opinion' article, it's not saying you MUST or SHOULD, it only is saying that you can use what's written here as a reference. In the end, always do what YOU want with your army, because it's your expression.

I added that AGAIN, so you don't miss it, because there is always THAT GUY who misses that point and goes on to abuse the writer in the comments because they take offense to an opinion.

General Thoughts on the Taghmata:

I recently acquired a small Mechanicum army, around a lazy 1500 points. For a really in-depth analysis, I am going to leave the floor open to Keepy, as he knows all about the Mechanicum on the table top.

In my personal opinion, the Taghmata is nastier the lower the points limit, as there is less you can bring to the game to try and counter the high toughness, multiple wounds they can put on the board. At higher levels, your options open up and you can take far more units who will pump the Mechanicum.

For the Taghmata fans themselves, you have the advantage of cheap AP 2 and 3 weapons, and your high toughness means that your low armour saves aren't as bad as it would seem on the outside. The key to winning games is to target units that can hurt you at range, and that if you are going to get involved in combat, it's almost always better to charge first. If you don't the generally low attacks of the mechanicum, and paper armour of most units mean you will end up losing. Chain axes will end Thallax so fast you won't even have time to blink. If you play your army right, you will be disgustingly powerful. How disgusting?

Pretty fucking disgusting. If you don't get it, you don't want to.

Plus side is, most Horus Heresy gamers are blind to the Mechanicum. They know it's there, they just don't think 'what if I come across them at a tournament?'. They end up stacking up on Ap3 weapons, which whilst neat, rarely trouble T7 and T8 Monstrous Creatures with 2 up armour saves. That's when you have to think outside the box as the Legion player and figure out very quickly how to cheat make your bolter armed chaps anything other then cannon fodder.

Well, that's all I have for now, I will actually do up an article which focuses on the different Rites of War and how you must adapt your list accordingly.

Thanks as always bloggers, ~Macca

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